Investments  

Robo-advice shunned by nine in ten

 “As newer technologies like robo-advisers become more prevalent, we may see people start to embrace the personalisation and convenience it offers, but the desire to control decisions will most likely mean that most will always want final approval.

 “Given that often computer programs can outperform humans, it is important that as an industry we learn more about where confidence in this type of tech breaks down. This will be key in trying to help improve people’s financial positions.”

But Jonathan Watts-Lay, director of Wealth at work, a provider of financial education, guidance and advice in the workplace, said robo advice is often really just a sophisticated self-selection tool, and nothing to fear.

"Individuals complete a detailed questionnaire and based on the answers given, the tool recommends investments or products for that individual. It is available to investors now, but isn’t widely available at-retirement yet, but may be soon.

“Robo advice means different things to different people, which is part of the reason why there is a lot of confusion in this area. Most people believe that there is no human interaction during the process, however some providers do support robo advice with human contact in the form of telephone and/or online support.

"Sometimes these are financial advisers, and sometimes just customer support helping customers through the process. In my experience, few people are going to be willing to hand over their hard earned pension to a robot to manage.

"I believe many people prefer to deal with financial matters face to face, particularly when nearing retirement as the decisions are so much more complex and the implications of getting a decision wrong are so much bigger.”

He concluded: "Many individuals struggle to distinguish between advice, in which a specific product or strategy may be recommended by a regulated adviser, and guidance, which will provide an explanation of types of product or strategies but not a specific recommendation. It is important to realise that not all robo advice is ‘regulated advice’, so that individuals are aware that not all decisions will come with the same consumer protection as regulated advice."